Just found this interesting Come To Jesus post on Modern Salon about how salons and spas need to work to “bring back” the clients they are otherwise losing to Sephora, YouTube beauty gurus, CVS Beauty, and such. The numbers are daunting; 800,000 people click on YouTube beauty videos every week. But there is hope because the average beauty consumer may be flocking to online beauty gurus and those brand reps who hang out at Sephora airbrushes at the ready, but “she believed us first,” says Reuben Carranza, CEO of P&G Professional. It’s sort of like hair salons are a cross between your scorned-but-carrying-the-torch first boyfriend and those evangelical Christians who protest at Mormon churches because they think this new religion is total blasphemy.
I just mixed a lot of metaphors there. Anyway, Carranza says when it comes to restoring customer faith, the key market to focus on is The Beauty Enthusiasts:
What is ‘The Beauty Enthusiast?”
- A consumer who thinks about spending her money, where to spend her money, and is pre-disposed to shopping and spending in the salon environment.
- She views the salon and the hairdresser as the ‘key’ source of beauty
- She is a thought-leader. This can include blogging or looking for new products and services.
- She is an experience-seeker. It’s all about the total beauty experience for the Beauty Enthusiast. She likes all of her senses engaged.
- She’s an informant. She responds to sophisticated information, trends and what’s happening in the beauty industry.
- She wants to look the best at her age, and actively seeks out beauty news.
Beauty Enthusiast’s statistics:
45 percent purchase Salon and Retail products
44 percent purchase only Mass Retail products
11 percent purchase only Salon products.
What do these statistics mean? According to Carranza, Salon owners need to focus on the people IN THE MIDDLE who buy both salon and retail products. If business owners can
persuade this percentage to purchase only salon products, they have more customers right in their bag.
First of all, I’m enjoying the Freudian slip style grammar errors, like that “What,” which should be a “Who” but instead not-so-subtly reinforces the idea that this consumer is a credit card, not a real person.
And I guess I like this better than a lot of the sales tactics we’re learning at Beauty U, which involve figuring out a client’s insecurity in order to upsell them something they may or may not need. But there’s something about the word “enthusiast” that’s making me picture some fresh-faced girl next door type who just loves to dance is all. And so I worry that she’s really going to drink the Kool-Aid and what starts as an innocent deep conditioner habit will turn into a full-blown robe-wearing, chanting, handing out religious tracts situation. (Yes, I’ve abandoned the boyfriend metaphor and we’re doing the religion thing now.)
Of course, Carranza also talks about how she’s a thought-leader and plans ahead how to spend her beauty dollars, so I bet she’s really too smart to get sucked in. Especially the 44 percent who don’t bother to shell out for salon products in the first place. I am super fascinated that only 11 percent of this “beauty obsessed” market buys exclusively salon products — surely that number was so much higher back in a simpler, pre-Sephora time? I know I’ve talked before about the weird, warring factions of the beauty industry. Guess we have to add salon vs. retail to that cat fight.
But cults are powerfully tempting, especially when they’re selling even a suggestion of something you deeply want, like hair that doesn’t make you want to break mirrors with your face. So, listen up, Beauty Enthusiasts (if, indeed, you are a real group of people and not a market research firm’s wild imaginings): The hair salons want you back. But if you’re getting better deals at CVS, well then, no means no.
(And we went back to the boyfriend thing. Some days there just isn’t enough caffeine to keep me on message.)